Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2021, 127-152


Can rewards increase intrinsic motivation for learning? - A review

Izabela Sorić - Sveučilište u Zadru, Odjel za psihologiju

Fulltext (croatian, pages 127-152).pdf

The question of whether rewards can encourage desirable behaviour has been raised in psychology for decades in very different contexts (educational, sports, industrial, etc.). In the scientific research sense, this question arises from the theoretical hypothesis of the conceptual distinction (negative interaction) of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, that is, from the hypothesis that rewards (as a form of extrinsic motivation) reduce intrinsic motivation. Through the review of psychological and neuroscientific research of these assumptions, the paper emphasizes all the complexity and sensitivity of the phenomenon of rewarding and its impact on the motivation of the individual. Namely, the effect of rewards on intrinsic motivation depends on a large number of factors related to the personality of the rewarded person, the type of rewarded activity and the initial level of motivation, the characteristics of the reward and the context in which rewarding takes place. The presented research and their results were interpreted regarding the possibility of their implementation in educational practice, that is, as an answer to the question of whether rewards can enhance students’ intrinsic motivation to learn.

rewards, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, neuroscience, educational context

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